The third episode of Top Gear was aired over the weekend and to our surprise, the show can actually put out a meaningful 60 minutes without all the usual wisecracks.
Granted, there were still jokes, but humor was somehow left in the sidelines in lieu of some pretty fascinating reviews on the McLaren MP4-12C and the Range Rover Evoque. On top of that, reigning Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel also stopped by for a quick chat with Jeremy Clarkson while also taking his talents behind the wheel of a Kia Cee’d as part of the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car segment.
The two best segments though include the Stig’s scintillating lap of the MP4-12C, posting a lap time that you wouldn’t believe until you see it and a segment on second-hand cars that left us with an idea on the merits of owning a brand-new city car as opposed to a second-hand version of something that’s more appropriate to our tastes.
Check out full details of Top Gear Season 17 Episode 3 after the jump.
Clarkson Heaps High Praise To The McLaren MP4-12C
When it comes to cars, Jeremy Clarkson has the standards of a high-brow aristocrat with unruly hair, a plaid polo, and tight jeans. And while he’s been spot on most times with his analysis, he’s also veered off from making useful insights in favor of wise cracks in other occasions. This time around, the host throws down the gloves with his review of the McLaren MP4-12C, the latest British car to come out of Woking, England.
Effusive with his praise for the car’s power, comfort, and driveability, the MP4-12C gets glowing reviews from the British host with the notable exception to its looks, which he comments as being a little dull, boring, and constructed out of science instead of art. Can’t complain on that end because we’ve always thought that McLaren erred on the side of caution and didn’t let loose on making the MP4-12C the eye candy it should’ve been.
The Stig Sings To Abba While Driving the MP4-12C
We know that the McLaren MP4-12C was a fast car, but we didn’t know it was this fast around the Top Gear track. Maybe listening to "Dancing Queen" while driving it soothed the Stig’s nerves, but whatever it was, the masked driver managed to post a blazing lap time of 1:16.2 seconds, the second fastest time on the Top Gear track behind the Ariel Atom V8’s 1:15.1 time and more surprisingly, six-tenths of a second clear off of the time of the car considered to be the fastest in the world, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport (1:16.8).
Star in A Reasonably Priced Car
This episode’s guest clearly needs no introduction in the world of auto racing: Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel. As a man who makes a living racing F1 cars all over the world, it wasn’t surprising that Vettel would be posting a blazing hot lap in the Kia Cee’d. And as we expected, he clearly did just that, posting a time of 1:44.0 to become the fastest F1 racer on the rankings, besting old veteran Rubens Barrichello and his 1:44.3 lap time. Like we said, we’re not surprised.
May Conquers Death Valley With The Range Rover Evoque
James May headed across the pond into our fair land to give the chic and sporty Range Rover Evoque a test that would determine whether it’s up to stuff as an off-roader. Starting at the inhospitable terrain of Death Valley, California, May was to take the Evoque to Las Vegas, Nevada in time to pick up Cher for while navigating around Death Valley. Needless to say, the whole challenge gave the Evoque all that it could handle, and then some. It managed to pass most of the tests and to May’s surprise, the car designed by no less than Victoria Beckham provided enough durability and terrain assist to be in time to pick up Cher in Sin City. Or at least we thought it was Cher.
The Treasures of Second-Hand Cars
Clarkson and Hammond debate the merits of buying a £6,000 Nissan Pixo and all the amenities that come with it - or lack thereof - as compared to spending that same amount of money buying cars in the second-hand market. For their choices, Clarkson went and got a 2002 Mercedes CL 600 V12 while Hammond purchased another German V12, this time a 1994 BMW 8-Series. Debating on the pros of each, Clarkson and Hammond proceeded to test the two cars to see which one netted the most bang for their buck and not surprisingly, the much more recent Merc bested the Beamer in just about every category with the exception of fancier headlights and the leather interior.
All told, the segment wasn’t as action-packed as we hoped it would be, but it does draw attention to a painstaking choice buyers must make when in the market for a low-cost car. Choose a brand new, fuel-efficient yet bare-as-bones Pixo or opt to hit the second-hand route and purchase a more powerful car?
The show had a decidedly British feel to it with reviews centered around two of the Kingdom’s newest exports, the MP4-12C and the Evoque. It lacked the usual catty banter amongst the three hosts, which has become a staple in almost all their episodes. But where the jokes were missing, it certainly made up for with a very enlightening segment on second-hand cars. Without the jokes, this episode was the most informative of the season so far. And dare we say, Top Gear should have more of these in the pipeline soon.